Roswell Park to bid farewell to long-time physician

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – One of Buffalo’s leading physicians, Dr. Marty Brecher, is retiring after 40 years of taking care of children with cancer.

Dr. Brecher has thousands of grateful patients. During his long career at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, he’s seen tremendous advances in care.

“When I started, many of the cancers that we treat now in kids were poor prognoses and some of them were automatic death sentences,” he recalled.

Dr. Brecher helped make things better. News 4’s Peter Ostrow has interviewed him several times. In 1989, he spoke to Dr. Brecher about a leukemia patient who was treated successfully.

“At this point, probably about 60 percent of children will go into remission and remain in remission indefinitely and we hopefully can speak of cure for those patients,” said Dr. Brecher in 1989.

And since then, things have continued to improve.

“Approximately 70- to 75-percent of all the childhood cancer patients now are cured of their disease. Which was surely not true when I started in this field and in some of the more common cancers like childhood leukemia, those rates are approaching 90 percent,” Dr. Brecher said.

After 40 years, most of them as head of pediatric oncology at Roswell Park and Women and Children’s Hospital, he has mixed feelings about retirement. He thinks the future looks brighter still.

Dr. Brecher said, “If you ask me what really impressed me most, I would have to say it is the spirit of the kids who are going through these treatments and their families. I never cease to be amazed.”

“They deserve the very best and hopefully the progress will continue.”

Roswell Park will hold a retirement party for Dr. Brecher on Wednesday, June 18, beginning at 5 p.m. All former patients and their families are invited to attend. Roswell asks you call 845-8788 to confirm your attendance.

If you have a photo with Dr. Brecher, you can submit it to theresa.carbone@roswellpark.org for use during the celebration.

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